Episcopal Church resolution on African LGBT advocacy (2015)

The Episcopal Church in the United States passed the following resolution encouraging a supportive relationship between the church and progressive African scholars and activists who are working for recognition of LGBT rights and the repeal of anti-gay laws in Africa.  The vote for the resolution occurred on July 3, 2015, during the church’s 78th general convention.

Resolution A051:

Support LGBT African Advocacy

Committee:

Social Justice and International Policy

Proposer:

Standing Commission on Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns

Final version of the text (approved July 3, 2015)

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church recognize and commend the unconditional love and support that families, communities, scholars, and activists have shown to their Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) sisters and brothers in Africa who are at risk of violence, discrimination, and imprisonment; and be it further

Resolved, That the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church affirm the following redemptive words in the statement of the Primates of the Anglican Communion in the Dromantine Communique (2005) that: “The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us. We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship;” and be it further

Resolved, That the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church encourage parishes, and dioceses, especially those with companion relationships with Anglicans in Africa, as well as advocacy groups, to build relationships with and learn from Anglican African scholars who are already offering Biblical interpretations that affirm the dignity and humanity of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex people; and be it further

Resolved, That the Office of Global Partnerships, Justice, and Advocacy Ministries; , the Office of the Presiding Bishop;, and other relevant church-wide offices be directed to work in partnership with African Anglicans who publicly oppose laws that criminalize homosexuality and incite violence against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex people; and be it further

Resolved, That The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church direct the Standing Commission on Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns or other appropriate body as designated by Executive Council to compile, for church-wide reference and use, a listing of information and resources developed by African Anglican leaders and organizations working to curb anti-gay and anti- transgender violence, discrimination, and marginalization; and be it further

Resolved, That The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church encourage parishes and dioceses to offer prayers for the safety of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex sisters and brothers, their families and communities, and for the scholars and activists who tirelessly work on their behalf.

Intermediate version of the text (as of June 27, 2015)

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church recognize and commend the unconditional love and support that families, communities, scholars, and activists have shown to their Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) sisters and brothers in Africa who are at risk of violence, discrimination, and imprisonment; and be it further

Resolved, That The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church encourage parishes,  and dioceses, especially those with companion relationships in Anglican Africa, as well as advocacy groups, to support build relationships with African Anglican scholars and activists who are working to advance generous understandings of the Bible with Anglican African scholars who are already offering Biblical interpretations that affirm the dignity  and humanity of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex people; and be it further

Resolved, That the Office of Global Partnerships, Justice, and Advocacy Ministries; , the Office of the Presiding Bishop;, and other relevant church-wide offices be directed to support efforts of African Anglicans who publicly oppose laws that criminalize homosexuality and incite violence against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex people; and be it further

Resolved, That The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church direct the Standing Commission on Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns or other appropriate body  standing commission as designated by Executive Council to compile, for church-wide reference and use, a listing of information and resources developed by African Anglican leaders and organizations working to curb anti-gay and anti- transgender violence, discrimination, and marginalization. In the event that there is no Standing Commission whose charge encompasses this work, a task force pursuant to Joint Rule of Order IX.22 of at least two priests or deacons, two lay people, and two bishops shall be appointed to complete this work by the 79th General Convention; and be it further

Resolved, That The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church encourage parishes and dioceses to offer prayers for the safety of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex sisters and brothers, their families and communities, and for the scholars and activists who tirelessly work on their behalf. 

Original version of the text (as of June 24, 2015)

Logo of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, an event held every three years -- in 2015 in Salt Lake City.

Logo of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, an event held every three years — in 2015 in Salt Lake City.

Resolved, … That the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church encourage parishes, dioceses, especially those with companion relationships in Anglican Africa, as well as advocacy groups, to build relationships with African Anglican scholars and activists who are working to advance generous understandings of the Bible that affirm the dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people; and be it further

Resolved, That the Office of Global Partnerships, Justice, and Advocacy Ministries; the Office of the Presiding Bishop; and other relevant church-wide offices be directed to support efforts of African Anglicans who publicly oppose laws that criminalize homosexuality and incite violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people; and be it further

Resolved, That The Episcopal Church direct the Standing Commission on Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns or other appropriate standing commission to compile for church-wide reference and use a listing of information and resources developed by African Anglican leaders and organizations working to curb anti-gay violence, discrimination, and marginalization. In the event that there is no Standing Commission whose charge encompasses this work, a task force pursuant to Joint Rule of Order IX.22 of at least two priests or deacons, two lay people, and two bishops shall be appointed to complete this work by the 79th General Convention.

Explanation

According to Amnesty International, “legal rights are diminishing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people across the African continent.” In Uganda, where it was already illegal to be gay, the Anti-Homosexuality Act passed by the parliament lengthened sentences for consensual homosexual sex and made it illegal to “promote” homosexuality. In Nigeria, “the conditions of imprisonment have become wider, and the punishment much harsher, when Nigeria’s president passed amendments to existing laws in January 2014.” …

Too often, the Bible is cited as a text that justifies these draconian punishments and the violence and discrimination that accompany them. But across Anglican Africa, an increasingly active network of church leaders, scholars, and activists is working to change ways of interpreting the Bible’s teachings on human sexuality and to use those new, more generous understandings to oppose draconian anti-gay laws and violence against LGBTI people.

Church-wide offices and Episcopal parishes and dioceses with companion relationships in Anglican Africa can form relationships with these African leaders and scholars who are working to change the Church’s legacy of anti-gay teaching.

The Standing Commission on Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns, its successor, or a task force pursuant to Joint Rule of Order IX.22 can compile information and resources about this work happening in African Anglican contexts. These resources will help church-wide offices, parishes, dioceses, and advocates develop and facilitate relationships among people in different contexts working to stop-anti gay violence across the Anglican Communion.

4 thoughts on “Episcopal Church resolution on African LGBT advocacy (2015)

  1. Pingback: U.S. church plans support for LGBT-friendly Africans | 76 CRIMES

  2. Pingback: Anti-gay Ugandan archbishop to U.S. church: Get lost! | 76 CRIMES

  3. Pingback: U.S. church plans support for LGBT-friendly Africans | ReproNet-Africa

  4. Pingback: U.S.-based church votes to support LGBTI Africans | 76 CRIMES

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